MFA and COVID19 Update – June 6, 2021
By Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
This week worldwide new cases of #COVID19 rose by 300,000 less than last week’s rise, but global deaths still rose by 107,000. A potential surge due to what is now being called the Delta variant that first hit India so badly, is being watched closely now in Britain, although full vaccination rates there are thought to be over 51% of the population and are likely affording much more protection than they had with the B.1.1.7 variant last year.
The global south might be in particular danger as countries like South Africa and Uganda are now showing spikes in cases with winter approaching, and their vaccination rates are far below those of the more prosperous global north. They are literally begging for vaccines for especially their more vulnerable high-risk groups, while northern hemisphere countries have moved on to vaccinating their children.
After considerable foot-dragging, the Biden/Harris administration this week pledged to export some 80 million doses of vaccine worldwide, while noting a good many of those are still slated for neighboring countries and so-called allies.
And meanwhile China has been noted to be vaccinating their own population on the order of 20 million or so per day, and exporting vaccine to other countries now for months, which has caused some critics like Dr. Paul Dorsey, Ph.D. of ElectoralVote.com to say the US’s global response, “…feels a little like agreeing to send a fruit basket to a country suffering from a famine”.
Reporting in US COVID19 deaths this week is lagging, but generally believed to be in much smaller rates than in weeks past, although the total death toll is now thought to be 609,421 lives lost due to the virus, and a staggering 243,768 lives that would have been and would still be spared by having a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system in place, even now, as we speak.
A frightening report on COVID in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old that was released this week, showed a significant number of increased hospitalizations earlier this year in that age group, while at the same time those older and at-risk already vaccinated persons were protected. This is driving the discussion now for movement on the need for the FDA to set parameters of vaccines for children 11 years and younger, at least by the time schools are back in full operation in the fall.
Also, on the ongoing campaign to vaccinate everyone in America, we are now famously incentivizing our more reluctant recipients with lotteries and other giveaways, but are still under-vaccinated in states like Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Appeals are being made to their better angels that they vaccinate themselves to at least protect those more vulnerable like the immunocompromised for whom vaccinations generally don’t work and they therefore depend on the good will of others, if that even exists there.
Beyond vaccines of course, is the issue that we’ve talked about here since this pandemic began, and will continue to talk about well into the next pandemic, that of comprehensive Healthcare reform.
Universal Healthcare is what is needed here, of course, that would put us on par with all of those advanced countries of the world that might be short on vaccine supplies at the moment, but have suffered so much less than we have by virtue of their actually walking the walk on having Healthcare as a Human Right, where their at-risk populations were not left to needlessly suffer and die for lack of treatment of complicating medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, COPD, and heart disease that made us so susceptible to the bad outcomes we are still seeing due to COVID19.
Will lowering the Medicare eligibility age, and expanding benefits to include dental, vision, and hearing services save lives and prevent suffering, in general and due to COVID19? Yes, of course it will. And for that we should applaud those in Congress and the Biden/Harris administration for advocating for that, through reconciliation or otherwise.
But that is a far cry from Universal Healthcare, where ALL of the people get ALL of the care, as we know is the case in all of those advanced countries of the world, that are not only advanced countries but are also civilized countries, as ours is not.
And we are not here in the US, precisely because we only talk Healthcare as a Human Right while we continue to tolerate the waste fraud and abuse of commercial interests in our Healthcare, especially and most egregiously by big insurance and big pharma and their murderous models of business practice in this country.
How do we move the focus once again back to the big picture, the potential for many more lives saved and much more suffering prevented, and recovering the incredible resources lost to corporate largess that is ongoing?
How do we lead the leaders to boldly move forward, marginalize those defenders of the immoral status quo, and capture the momentum of the larger social justice movement, that even pulls in a global perspective that includes diplomacy and cooperation to ameliorate this and the other global existential threats of climate, racism, poverty, war, and political corruption?
That discussion and that struggle continue…